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A Solid Value For A Simple Luxury Sedan

2014 Equus Review: Are You Ready For A $70,000 Hyundai?
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Hyundai puts together a compelling luxury offering for a specific audience with lots of money to spend, yet able to look past brand image. I'll be the first to admit that this isn't easy. It'd be hard to spend nearly $70,000 and not be a little judgmental of nice cars in the same price range. Perhaps the best thing that Hyundai did, though, was cramming features that other companies charge for into two trim levels. An S-class starts in the $90,000 range. A 7-series starts around $74,000. The A8 starts just over $75,000. But it's super easy to push all of those well over $100,000. But the Equus can be had with adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, a 360-degree view camera, navigation, a V8 engine, and more for under $70,000. That makes it one of the best values you'll find in this space, simply comparing cost to the features you get.

The bundled driver aids are smartly integrated and come in quite handy. I really dig heads-up displays, and the Equus' yields lots of useful information, minimizing the amount of time I spent looking down at the gauge cluster. It's nice to have a tachometer in the HUD, but this isn't a performance-oriented car, so we'll defer to the benefit of minimalism. By only including the information you need, it becomes easier to use the HUD. Blind spot and lane departure notifications definitely qualify as important, so we're glad they're part of the projected display, too.

Hyundai's adaptive cruise control is a standard feature on both Equus trims, and once you get used to having it, you won't want to go back. Lexus and the Germans continue nickel-and-diming their customers by selling this as a separate option, typically in very pricy packages with other driver aids that come standard on the Equus.

I'm still not fond of LCD-based clusters. Simply replacing analog gauges with digital representations seems so counterproductive. Either design gauges that are even more readable, or stick to the responsive needles apparently so difficult to mimic well. There’s a lot that can be done with an LCD gauge cluster in terms of visual customization. But Hyundai uses the screen as a static display, which strikes me as uninspired. 

On the other hand, the Equus' infotainment system is nice and quick. It could definitely use Web connectivity though, and app support for Internet radio would be nice as well. Compared to the Japanese and German competition, Hyundai still comes up short in the feature department. A QWERTY keyboard layout and control knob don't go well together at all. The analog radio skin is a little cheesy as well. But I was most annoyed by the lack of a digital clock anywhere in the infotainment display or gauge cluster. The analog timepiece is classy, sure. It just seems ludicrous to pull the digital readout altogether, particularly when Hyundai's less expensive cars have this feature. At least make it an option in the infotainment system's settings.

As a passenger in the Equus, you feel like you're on a comfy sofa, which naturally isn't bad in the luxury segment. The inclusion of a Sport mode feels more like a friendly gesture than a meaningful feature able to make the car more fun to drive. With that said, though, Hyundai's 5.0-L V8 and in-house eight-speed automatic transmission work together to deliver plenty of power, smoothly. 

Ultimately, the Equus tackles a market more worried about prestige than value, making it tough to get emotionally involved with. This isn't helped by a handful of glaring style, interface, and finishing faux pas that we can't imagine the Germans making. But this car company, known best for its affordable mid-sized and compact cars, has changed our minds once before. It's not a stretch to imagine refinements further enhancing the Equus' position relative to heavier hitters in the ~$70,000 space.

That price tag is what's sure to give high-end buyers a moment of pause. You really do get a lot of vehicle for less than seventy large. Hyundai backs this beast with a five-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and ten-year, 100,000 powertrain guarantee to sweeten the deal. Knowing how much it costs to service a fancy tech-laden automobile, we appreciate the peace of mind. If you're able to get past the Hyundai badge as you write a sizable check, the Equus is a hidden gem in the luxury market. It doesn't come with any groundbreaking technology for enthusiasts to lust over. Rather, it's a fairly simple (by today’s standards) throwback to the early days of Lexus, when the LS400 was considered great bang for your buck versus the Germans. 

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  • 3 Hide
    radiovan , February 28, 2014 11:06 PM
    Hyundai and Kia sure have come a long way.
  • 4 Hide
    Blazer1985 , March 1, 2014 4:21 AM
    O.o it is an exact replica of a mercedes e-class. Even the interiors match completely... Or is it just me?
  • 6 Hide
    pilsner , March 1, 2014 5:59 AM
    Quote:
    O.o it is an exact replica of a mercedes e-class. Even the interiors match completely... Or is it just me?
    Yes, they took a lot of styling cues from Mercedes. The front grille, headlights and rear lights are quite similar to the E class Mercs. The first thing I thought when I saw the pictures on the first page of this article was "that looks like a Mercedes copy". Surely not coincidental - other Hyundai models look like 1-series or 3-series BMW. I do not think it is bad to take cues from successful design, it should just not be so obvious that it becomes the first thing people notice when they look at your car.
  • 2 Hide
    tuanies , March 1, 2014 6:59 AM
    All vehicle styling is derivative nowadays. However, the Equus is a pretty good Mercedes replica. But they are still new to the luxury class so they're banking on familiarity instead of trying to stand out for the people who want bargain luxury but still want people to ask if its a Mercedes Benz.
  • 6 Hide
    10tacle , March 1, 2014 7:31 AM
    Hyundai with this car is where Lexus and Infiniti were in the late 1980s: going after BMW and Mercedes flagships (7-series, S-class respectively). However, the difference is that Lexus and Infiniti are strictly a luxury car brand off their parent companies. This car is, well, still a Hyundai. It has a certain class stigma to it. If I had $70k to spend on a luxury ride, I'd rather buy a two year old off-lease certified car by Mercedes, BMW, or Audi over this thing brand new. Any day of the week. If Hyundai wanted to go after the top dogs, they should have spun off their own Luxury brand to shed the image of an economy-class Korean label. Besides, it remains to be seen how well these latest Korean cars that have come out looking pretty good over the last two or three years or so hold up long term. I wouldn't bet on them for a long term keeper.
  • 1 Hide
    brenro12 , March 1, 2014 7:45 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    O.o it is an exact replica of a mercedes e-class. Even the interiors match completely... Or is it just me?
    Yes, they took a lot of styling cues from Mercedes. The front grille, headlights and rear lights are quite similar to the E class Mercs. The first thing I thought when I saw the pictures on the first page of this article was "that looks like a Mercedes copy". Surely not coincidental - other Hyundai models look like 1-series or 3-series BMW. I do not think it is bad to take cues from successful design, it should just not be so obvious that it becomes the first thing people notice when they look at your car.
  • 2 Hide
    brenro12 , March 1, 2014 7:46 AM
    Actually, it's a copy of the Lexus LS 460 which is a copy of the Mercedes S Class.
  • 4 Hide
    BhimaJ , March 1, 2014 8:40 AM
    My Hyundai Elantra is a solid car. Having said that, if I had $70k to drop on a vehicle, it has to be something really special, something that represents the best of what we can engineer today in that class and a nod to inspire the future. Honestly there really isn't another luxury car in this price class that competes with the Tesla S. It is simply a technologically superior car to any of the others on the market in its class.
  • 1 Hide
    JoBales , March 1, 2014 1:19 PM
    Strange how when perceived low-cost company Volkswagen tried to release the high-end, technologically sophisticated VW Phaeton in the U.S. a while back, it didn't sell enough to continue the model here. But Hyundai sells the Equus and it seems to be the sweetheart of the car mags and blogs. Truthfully, I'd take the VW before the Hyundai. Of course, VW did start selling higher end products like the Toureg now. Maybe if they'd done this before offering the Phaeton the marketplace might have accepted it easier. Of course, the problem there is that when you get into the 70k-100k field that Phaeton was in, you are in competition with VW's Audi luxury division which, considering the two, would be a no-brainer.
  • -1 Hide
    tuanies , March 1, 2014 2:15 PM
    Quote:
    Strange how when perceived low-cost company Volkswagen tried to release the high-end, technologically sophisticated VW Phaeton in the U.S. a while back, it didn't sell enough to continue the model here. But Hyundai sells the Equus and it seems to be the sweetheart of the car mags and blogs. Truthfully, I'd take the VW before the Hyundai. Of course, VW did start selling higher end products like the Toureg now. Maybe if they'd done this before offering the Phaeton the marketplace might have accepted it easier. Of course, the problem there is that when you get into the 70k-100k field that Phaeton was in, you are in competition with VW's Audi luxury division which, considering the two, would be a no-brainer.


    That was their problem, they competed with themselves. The Phaeton wasn't much cheaper than the A8. The Equus is significantly cheaper than a comparable LS460 and on the LS you can't have adaptive cruise control with the executive rear seating in the same package.

    The Phaeton is an awesome car though.

  • 0 Hide
    pilsner , March 1, 2014 2:38 PM
    Quote:
    The Phaeton is an awesome car though.
    Yes, the only real problem that car ever had is the Volkswagen name. Otherwise it is an awesome luxury car, right up there with Mercedes S class etc., even surpassing them in some regards back when the Phaeton was new on the market. Good thing is that because of that flaw, it is a real bargain as a used car. Well, until the car needs a repair, that is. The youtube videos of the "Glaeserne Manufaktur" are awesome to watch.
  • 0 Hide
    Terry Perry , March 1, 2014 3:00 PM
    Except all cars after 3-4 years lose half their value in 4 years this car will be worth 40,000 $ if the millage isn't to high. Where a 20,000 will only lose 10,000 $ that is why it's stupid because you also have to take into the High Insurance you will pay on 70,000 $ car. Why I Don't do Porsche anymore lose to much money. My neighbor bought a 90,000 $ Porsche and in 3 years with 40,000 miles he could only get 60,000 $ He has 3 tickets in one year so it had to go.
  • 0 Hide
    JWHardy , March 1, 2014 7:20 PM
    The Equus has a TEN-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty (not seven-year).
  • 1 Hide
    falchard , March 1, 2014 9:30 PM
    Definitely the best technology package for the vehicles you have reviewed thus far. Also I am pretty sure its the British who started using the control knob first, not the Germans.I don't see how this article was more than 3 pages for a tech site. I don't think anyone here cares about the case design as long as the internal components are good.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , March 1, 2014 9:55 PM
    Quote:
    Definitely the best technology package for the vehicles you have reviewed thus far. Also I am pretty sure its the British who started using the control knob first, not the Germans.I don't see how this article was more than 3 pages for a tech site. I don't think anyone here cares about the case design as long as the internal components are good.


    I believe iDrive may have been first. I don't know of any British Car that uses a control knob for the navi.
  • 0 Hide
    palladin9479 , March 2, 2014 6:07 AM
    Haha the Equus line is fairly population out here, and it's been around for a while. The two cars domestic cars that scream "I'm rich" are the Equus and Chairman. This is just them trying to bring them to the US that's all.
  • 0 Hide
    Lutfij , March 2, 2014 7:03 AM
    From almost every angle I see this car, it always reminds me of the Toyota Crown from its elegant exterior all the way to flushed angular designs.I still chalk this up as a really good production from a company like Hyundai.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , March 2, 2014 7:15 AM
    Quote:
    Haha the Equus line is fairly population out here, and it's been around for a while. The two cars domestic cars that scream "I'm rich" are the Equus and Chairman. This is just them trying to bring them to the US that's all.


    Yea, it took them long enough to bring the Equus over here. I believe the KDM Equus still has the 4 seat configuration with fridge in the back? The Chairman is an interesting car with its Mercedes powertrain. But, how do you say SsangYong? Is it just pronounced as it would without the extra S at the beginning?

    Quote:
    From almost every angle I see this car, it always reminds me of the Toyota Crown from its elegant exterior all the way to flushed angular designs.I still chalk this up as a really good production from a company like Hyundai.


    Ah the Toyota Crown. I love the 80s and 90s version so much.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , March 2, 2014 7:15 AM
    Quote:
    The Equus has a TEN-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty (not seven-year).


    Fixed, thanks for pointing that out.
  • 1 Hide
    Lutfij , March 2, 2014 7:21 AM
    I think the Crown's are what set Toyota apart besides their Lexus' in the Luxury Division.
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